Within the framework of the event specialized in MICE tourism, IMEX Frankfurt 2023, Travel2latam had the opportunity to talk about the District of Fairs, Events and Conventions of Bogotá, Colombia; with Nicolás Aieta, Director of Sales and Marketing of Hilton Bogotá Corferias; and Andrés González, Commercial and Marketing Director at Ágora Bogotá, Convention Center.
What does the District of Fairs, Events and Conventions mean?
The District of Fairs, Events and Conventions is the union of efforts to develop and ally the best in this world. In recent years, around 60 annual fairs have been held, from all economic sectors of the country and also fairs that have been developed in conjunction with international allies.
What is the projection and objective of Hilton Bogotá Corferias?
One of the greatest visions of Corferias is to gain ground in Latin America and the Caribbean, and have fairs in alliance with the construction, health, industry and commerce sectors, among others, and for this it seeks the most important allies in the country and the region. However, there is an intention and a vision to expand its capacity, it has already developed strategic alliances with groups such as Fira Barcelona and IFEMA, in which it is seeking to develop and complement its local offer with an international component, with a greater number of exhibitors and visitors. international.
What is the objective of Ágora Bogotá?
Ágora Bogotá has also developed a very important corporate component in Colombia, where companies seek to enter the Latin American region, and this is when the operation complement of the Convention Center with the Hilton Bogotá Corferias comes into play, which opens in 2019. We are located 15 minutes from El Dorado International Airport, with one of the greatest connectivity in Latin America, and 15 minutes from the Historic Center of Bogotá, making us an equidistant and strategic point in terms of international visitors.
What capacity do they have to hold events and to host meeting tourists?
The Hilton Bogotá Corferias Hotel has 410 rooms, a five-star hotel and Ágora Bogotá has a capacity for 4,000 people in a single venue or three simultaneous events with a capacity for 1,000 people. But one of the variables that we have also worked on is for the events that need a larger capacity, we complement ourselves with the Fairs and Exhibitions Corporation (Corferias) , the oldest fairground in Colombia that has 23 pavilions and a capacity to hold up to 90,000 people in one day or 600,000 people over 15 days.
This is how this concept of the District of Fairs, Events and Conventions has been a spearhead for our recruitment of international events, where we are also supported by the Manager of the Bogotá Convention Wall, who makes a presentation of all the facilities it has Bogotá as a city, a vibrant and business city but also tourism and with a very important gastronomic offer. And in this District, the possibility of housing more than 20,000 beds has also been developed, taking into account the proximity we have with the axis of business and commercial development of the town of El Dorado, where the airport and one of the hotel chains are located. more international and more representative.
Was Hilton conceived from the outset to enter the District of Fairs, Events and Conventions?
Nothing is a coincidence in the District of Fairs, Events and Conventions. The Hotel is part of the long-term project that Corferias thought about with the launch of the Convention Center in 2018, in whose Master Plan was to include a full-service hotel to precisely serve everything that happens both in the Corferias Fair District, as well as in the Corferias Convention Center, that land was available where the Hilton Bogotá Corferias was built, and the hotel ends up opening its doors on April 4, 2019 with 410 rooms.
This makes it the largest chain hotel in the city. Of these rooms, almost half are doubles and it is precisely a room format that clients of groups and events consume a lot. The proximity of the airport just 15 minutes away also makes us a super friendly destination for this type of business. And we must highlight the connectivity that Bogotá has, which is also a plus for this type of client, let's remember that Bogotá receives more than 700 weekly international flight frequencies from more than 27 international airlines from El Dorado International Airport, which is among the top three airports in the Latin American region.
What capacity does the hotel have to receive events?
The hotel has eight meeting rooms, for example, the main hall can receive 700 people, it is a very spacious auditorium. The hotel from its inception was conceived for the segment of groups and conversions due to its location and for belonging to this district, which is why we have the capacity to receive up to two 54-passenger buses inside the property and under roof, which It allows the logistics of arrival and departure of any large group or contingency.
In addition, upon entering the hotel, you are greeted by a distribution lobby that leads by escalators to the second floor where the eight rooms are located, and if you have to check-in, you go to the fourth floor where the super-wide reception is, ideal for check-in. -in for agile groups and on that same floor is one of the restaurants that has a large capacity for up to 250 people for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In addition, we have another restaurant on the first floor that complements the gastronomic offer, we also have a very spacious lobby bar to enjoy the best of International cocktails or signature cocktails. Hilton Corferias also has an outdoor space to organize events. There are two terraces and one of them has a structural tent to protect the space from inclement weather, which was recently installed and has space for 200 or 150 people.
What have been the occupancy results in the hotel since its inauguration?
The truth is that the results to date have been very good. We must take into account that we opened in April 2019 and had to close in March 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, but we were able to reopen the hotel at the end of 2020 when the business in Bogotá began to reactivate a bit. From 2021 onwards, we again see continuous growth and the reactivation of events in Corferias, and of the entire fairgrounds that began to have their normal occupancy and that obviously contributes a lot to the hotel.
What does the name Agora Bogota mean?
Ágora Bogotá was the product of an international contest, and to finally choose the name there was an interest because it had a national component and an international component, the winning proposal was then Ágora Bogotá, a term that comes from the Greek meaning exchange center, where they met to discuss the issues in ancient Greece. This was also adopted as a concept, because finally a Convention Center is that; a meeting point where issues are discussed and where there is growth thanks to this exchange.
How do you work day by day from the planning between the hotel and Ágora Bogotá?
We are working on identifying and attracting those large academic conferences and corporate events in order to provide them with all our services. We look for possibilities to have larger events, the facility of the hotel of the 410 rooms plus the 23 pavilions of Corferia, plus the 18 halls of Ágora Bogotá, is a variable that few Latin American cities have. So what we do is identify those commercial opportunities and present ourselves jointly, offering all this structure to our clients and organizers.
The three properties put together a commercial and marketing plan, and we joined the steering committees to put together this plan and present ourselves as a single district. That the two properties are here at the IMEX fair is no coincidence, since we usually present ourselves at this type of international fairs as a single product to join forces.
What is the joint projection they have in terms of receiving events?
We are recently implementing this plan of the Fairs, Events and Conventions District concept, and of course seeing the results from this different perspective, the expectation is very high on the part of the investment partners since the events that we can have are not very usual. What we are doing is identifying and measuring the variables to be able to comply with the business pack and the individual component. The Colombian human resource makes the difference, the warmth of the education and the respect that the Colombian has is a perfect complement for the development of the segment, and we cannot fail to add all the cultural component and the cultural legacy that Bogotá and Colombia have as such. The region itself provides and contributes a lot to the MICE segment because today destinations are not chosen solely for infrastructure, but it also seeks beyond, it seeks to leave a mark and complement with the cultural issue and origins, gastronomy, the different branches of art, then Bogotá offers much more than infrastructure, it is labor, human resources, legacy, culture and gastronomy. It is a complete city, and there are many components that make Bogotá an excellent destination for the development of this segment, so we are sure that great events, fairs and events will take place soon in our city.